Top 10 Data Center Management Lessons Learned Following Hurricane Sandy

It’s been about six months since Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the East Coast. During the disaster, data center operators across the Northeast Coast learned some hard lessons. These lessons can be applied to any organizations planning or upgrading their Disaster Recovery (DR) strategies, according to a Web article posted by In fact, there are 10 issues for businesses to keep in mind when forming or revising their DR plans as documented in the article.

The LifeHacker article features Alex Delgado, global operations and data center manager for International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF). Delgado shares some key insights from his own experiences during Hurricane Sandy.

Lesson 1: It can always get worse.

While most data centers have a disaster recovery plan, surprises always happen when you least expect it. “Nothing we could have prepared for would have ever been able to get close to where we needed to be when we got hit with the storm,” Delgado said. And even more bizarre, six hours after Sandy hit, IFF’s offshore operations team in Chennai was hit by a cyclone.

Lesson 2: Physical access can present difficulties.

Natural disasters cut more than power — they also block roads, which makes delivering replacement equipment difficult. “When the storm hit, our first responders were also impacted so it was a challenge to get them all on site — some of them never got there,” Delgado stated. “Thankfully we were able to have a lot of them work from home.”

Lesson 3: The business may change its mind.

Pre-agreed upon plans can change at a moment’s notice as a result of shifting realities. “Review all your non-critical systems,” Delgado advised in the LifeHacker article. “If the business says ‘we don’t need it back right away,’ go back and ask them ‘are you sure?’”

Lesson 4: Plan your backup windows carefully.

Backup plans may also need to change. “We made a decision to terminate our backup storage and mirroring process,” Delgado said. “This was a pre-emptive strike so that if we lost power, that mirroring process did not corrupt the data.”


To read more of the lessons learned during Hurricane Sandy, read the LifeHacker article.